Putin must Go!

The Other Russia reports:

The signatories of the petition ‘Putin Must Go,’ which calls for the resignation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, held their first meeting in Moscow on Wednesday. The opposition manifesto, which has gathered more than 43 thousand signatures over the past two months, accuses the prime minister of brutally suppressing dissent, fostering corruption, and failing to modernize and develop Russia over the course of his tenure in power. Therefore, it says, “the return of Russia to the path of democratic development can only begin when Putin has been deprived of all levers of managing the state and society.”

Approximately seventy people attended Wednesday’s event, which was organized by opposition leaders to discuss the history, current state, and future of their campaign against the prime minister. Denis Bilunov, executive director of the opposition movement Solidarity, said the petition was originally intended for social and political organizations to sign, not the general public. However, he said, it turned out that the petition’s message appealed to a far greater number of ordinary Russians than was expected, so a website was set up to collect signatures online. Over 12 thousand people signed the petition in the first week alone.

Bilunov additionally spoke about the technical problems faced by the campaign, including frequent attacks by hackers that have repeatedly disabled the petition’s website. He also said that a full third of the 42 thousand signatories that had been collected by Wednesday have expressed interest in more actively supporting the campaign.

United Civil Front leader and Solidarity bureau member Garry Kasparov spoke at the meeting as well. Given that anti-government opposition groups face a great deal of repression in Russia, Kasparov said that the organizers would have considered even five thousand signatures to have been a success. He spoke about the fact that the petition has been subjected to an information blockade in the media; state-run television channels remain the main source of news for most Russians, and all of them have failed to mention the petition in their reporting. Nevertheless, said Kasparov, the thousands of messages of support and direct connections formed between citizens on the petition’s website make the project worth doing.

“The demographic and biographic cross-section of the signatories shows that there are a great deal more people in Russia who are discontent than they want us to know,” said Kasparov. “We don’t know yet what will come of all this, but 42 thousand people, even by today’s draconian laws, already almost constitutes a political party.”

Prominent political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky pointed out that for all the verbal attacks by the campaign’s critics, not a single person has come forward to speak out in defense of the prime minister or to refute the petition’s accusations.

“This is testimony to the fact that the regime is in a state of decay, insofar as there are no people who believe in any kind of ideology,” Piontkovsky said. “Regimes like this usually end in the collapse of the elite.” The political analyst went on to say that he didn’t believe Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and his political team would be able to successfully rid themselves of the prime minister – only because they fear being left alone with a society that would continue to raise uncomfortable issues with the government.

Piontkovsky also proposed a number of measures to increase awareness of the campaign against Prime Minister Putin, including serious preparations for a rally in Moscow, which he proposed by held in the fall.

“Even three thousand people demanding that Putin be dismissed would be a serious political event,” he said.

Despite the already massive number of signatures on the petition, attendees of the meeting agreed that the campaign needed to move from the internet into the living world to become an effective force for change. Participants proposed a number of measures to that end: increasing awareness that the petition does indeed have a great deal of support from Russian society, involving various political movements in their campaign, using social networking and blogs to spread information, and holding one-man demonstrations – the only form of protest that does not require government sanction to be held legally in Russia – to collect more signatures.

Kasparov noted that there was a limit to how many anti-government protesters the authorities could endure before they became decidedly afraid. “If in Moscow, for example, 100 thousand people come out into the streets, many of the people in that crowd are going to turn out to be the relatives and friends of a lot of police officers and OMON [riot police] officers, so we don’t know if they would carry out their orders” to break up the event, he said. “Through our actions, we are changing the balance of power in society.”

Kasparov said that Prime Minister Putin’s resignation was the campaign’s primary political goal because it would free President Medvedev to implement legislation that would allow for free and fair elections. Currently, politics at every level and in every region of Russia is almost entirely monopolized by United Russia, the Kremlin-backed political party headed by the prime minister himself. What isn’t controlled by United Russia is largely controlled by Kremlin-loyal opposition groups, such as A Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. The government has done virtually nothing to address the widespread accusations of fraud that consistently come up during major elections.

Since its inception on March 10, 2010, the petition calling for Vladimir Putin to resign has been signed by a wide variety of opposition figures, human rights advocates, public figures, journalists, and other activists. Among the first to sign were prominent rights activists Elena Bonner and Lev Ponomarev, Solidarity bureau members Garry Kasparov, Boris Nemtsov, and Ilya Yashin, Yabloko party members Maksim Reznik, Boris Vishnevsky and Aleksei Melnikov, journalists Yevgeny Ikhlov, Anatoly Baranov and Aleksandr Ryklin, and writers Vladimir Bukovsky and Viktor Shenderovich. At the time of publication, 43,012 people had signed the petition in all.

21 responses to “Putin must Go!

  1. Hi, I’ve recently been reading through your blog and keep noticing your use of “neo-soviet” to describe today’s Russia. What exactly do you mean by it? I mean, Russia has always suppressed dissent, censored press, committed genocide, behaved imperially etc. long before the Communists came into being. I don’t see the Soviet Union as having been that much different – apart from ideologically aligning itself to Marxism – to Russia’s other various incarnation over the centuries except for taking various crimes – mass killings, political opression – to the extreme. Could you elaborate?

    • ” I don’t see the Soviet Union as having been that much different”

      That’s the definition of neo-Soviet! There was at least one key difference, though. In Soviet times, the KGB never held direct power as long as it has done in the past decade.

    • I agree. The Soviet Union just continued Russia’s pre-Soviet practices that you have correctly identified, except the U.S.S.R. did all that (i.e., suppression, oppression, killings, genocide and so on) on a much grander scale. There could be found only a very few figures in history who could rival Stalin in the degree of their cruelty.

      So, modern day Russia, post-Soviet, but really neo-Soviet, just wants to resurrect their old glory and pride (I wonder what did they ever have to be proud of) and to “get off her knees.” I believe that’s their officially stated goal.

      To me, it means, there will be more murders, assassinations, genocide, censorship, victimization of the weak (both persons and countries), oppression etc. They have already started on that path.

      • That’s my point though. Is it really neo-soviet or just Russian. I would say the latter. It’s continuing in the tradition of the Czars. The crimes being committed in Russia today are nothing compared to the Soviet atrocities, but are of a more milder tone in the tradition of pre-revolutionary Russia. Make Putin Czar and the oligarchs the Nobility and you have a match.

      • The US just continued Soviet Union’s and Russia’s pre-Soviet practices that you have correctly identified, except the US did all that (i.e., suppression, oppression, killings, genocide and so on) on a much grander scale. There could be found only a very few societies in history who could rival the USA in the degree of their cruelty.

  2. The USSR had 100 million people in eastern Europe enslaved. This enabled them to hold on for a long time.

    The Putin gangsters have only the poor, dumb Russian people. And now they are rapidly losing the oil advantage.

    This cannot have a happy ending for Putin.

    They could always call flim-flam boy Obama!!!!

    • Givi Hachikian

      “The USSR had 100 million people in eastern Europe enslaved. This enabled them to hold on for a long time.”

      The British empire and US had 200 million all around the world enslaved. Many are still enslaved until now. This enabled the ugly US empire to hold on for a long time.

      “The Putin gangsters have only the poor, dumb Russian people. And now they are rapidly losing the oil advantage.”

      Examples of “poor dumb” Russian people are Nobel Prize winners Alferov, Abrikosov, Ginzburg, Tamm, Basov, Prokhorov, etc., writers Platonov, Solzhenitsyn, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov, musicians/composers/conductors Gergiev, Rostropovich, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Rachmaninov, Musorgsky and Chaikovsky, and opera singers Netrebko and Hvorostovsky. The main example of violently poor and extremely dumb Brits and Yanks are: Ron and his friends from the LR blog.

      Russians are NOT loosing their gas advantage, you idiot! They are gaining more and more nowadays! Getting a significant part of the Arctic region, Russia will be a gas and oil super-empire, no matter what assholes like you declare! Бодливой коровке бог рог не дает, и не тебе лоху опущенному судить об этом.

      “This cannot have a happy ending for Putin.” Putin will happy stay for decades, as he’s MOST EFFICIENT leader of Russia since Peter the Great. Obama helps him a lot, thank you Barack!

      • That there were or are some Russians of international reputation proves nothing. In a large country with large population, this is statistically inevitable no matter what, and if Russia now or ever were a normal country, the number of such persons should have been much higher.

        By the way, of all these examples or scientific or artistic figures you gave almost all are dead or else very old and retired except Gergiev, Netrebko and Hvorostovsky. Gergiev is not a bad conductor but really there are dozens in the world who are much better, including Temirkanov. Netrebko is no longer a Russian, she had emigrated and while she is a very good soprano, she is no Callas or Sutherland. Hvorostovsky is a mediocre baritone and his reputation is grossly exaggerated. He is pretty good in Russian repertoire and that is it. He does not come even close to such giants among baritones as Tito Ruffa or Tito Gobbi when it comes to Italian stuff. He is incompetent in Wagnerian and other German roles. Even his fellow Russian baritone Sergey Leiferkus is much better but I haven’t heard of him much lately. Perhaps he is retired now.

        • Givi Hachikian

          If you cannot respond properly, you start to criticize minor details, right?

          “That there were or are some Russians of international reputation proves nothing.”

          It proves a lot, and in particular that the country has a great culture.

          “Netrebko is no longer a Russian, she had emigrated”

          Following your stupid logic, Hemingway was not American. Quite a typical comment for an American. You believe people can buy and sell their nationality, as you never had your own one –“Americans” are just a terrible “Noah’s Ark” mixture of europeans, blacks, indians, jews, chinese, and latinos.

          “Gergiev is not a bad conductor but really there are dozens in the world who are much better, including Temirkanov”.

          Yes, thank you for another example of a famous RUSSIAN conductor.

          “He does not come even close to such giants among baritones as Tito Ruffa or Tito Gobbi when it comes to Italian stuff.”

          BTW, Tito Gobbi died more than 25 years ago. “Tito Ruffa” in Google gives 132 hits (what a “giant”!), “Tito Gobbi” — 87000 hits, while “Dmitri Hvorostovsky” 104000 hits. Do you mean they are comparable in their popularity?

          • If you have to do a Google search for Gobbi or Ruffa (or gauge their artistic level by the number of hits), sadly your knowledge and understanding of opera are limited. Hvorostovski never showed any level approaching theirs; his voice, phrasing and technique are purely Russian and not much suitable for Italianate repertoire. I’ve heard him and I know.

            What is the problem with Netrebko? What are you so upset about? Is it not a fact she emigrated from Russia and took Austrian (I think) nationality? If this is correct, isn’t it true to state that she used to be a Russian but now has changed her nationality and is no longer Russian?

            • Givi Hachikian

              “What is the problem with Netrebko? What are you so upset about? Is it not a fact she emigrated from Russia and took Austrian (I think) nationality?”

              First of all, you follow your former retarded president Bush in making no difference between Austria and Australia. Second, Netrebko likely has double citizenship (Austrian and Russian) as she is introduced in Wikipedia sometimes as Russian-Austrian singer (in German version), and sometimes as Russian singer (in English version) with a special comment that she has Austrian citizenship.

              Second, one may take any nationality, but remain Russian. This maybe difficult to grasp for Americans, I understand.

              “his voice, phrasing and technique are purely Russian and not much suitable for Italianate repertoire. I’ve heard him and I know.”

              I’ve heard him many times, but I dont’t think the value of a singer is measured in his suitability for “Italianate repertoire”.

              • How did I confuse Austria and Australia? Where did you see that?

                Neterbko is a very good soprano, not the best or even close, but very good. Perhaps, you don’t get the notion of the difference between ethnicity (which in her case remains Russian, nobody would argue with you on that) and nationality (which is citizenship). When a person, especially a famous one, emigrates, it means something.

                Hvorostovsky is a well trained baritone, definitely very professional, but a mediocre one. And yes, in the world of opera, the value of the singer is directly linked to how he signs Italian operas. Don’t ask me why, this is just so. Yes, there is Wagner, and Richard Strauss, and Mozart, and Musorgsky, and Bizet, but still

                • Netrebko is both ethnic Russian and a Russian national.

                  Strange people in the US know so small about dual citizenship.

                  • I think we know a little bit. When a person wants to get naturalized in the U.S., one of the conditions is to formally renounce any previous citizenship or allegiance. I’s different for natural born U.S. citizens who want acquire foreign citizenship later.

                    Well, I realize than in Austria it may be different and of course if Austria allows to keep Russian nationality, then I was wrong. I did not take this in account. But I think I remember an article somewhere, about a year or two ago, saying Russia was very unhappy with Netrebko for doing this,

                    • “I think we know a little bit. When a person wants to get naturalized in the U.S., one of the conditions is to formally renounce any previous citizenship or allegiance.”

                      No, you don’t. Allegiance – maybe, citizenship – absolutely not.

                      “a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the citizenship of the country of birth.U.S. law does not mention dual nationality or require a person to choose one citizenship or another.

                      http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1753.html

            • isn’t it true to state that she used to be a Russian but now has changed her nationality and is no longer Russian?

              No, it is not.

      • What planet are you from comrade Givi Hachikian. Definitely not from “Terra Firma.”

        • Givi Hachikian

          Vah, vah, ти нэ знаишь Гиви? I’m from Ukraine, one of grandsons of Stepan Banderas.

  3. You want Putin to go because he’s brought a level of success and prosperity to Russia and your propagandist website aims to instill the idea that he’s nothing but a criminal into the minds of people. So as to make them want to remove him from power, in a way weakening Russia, though much more psychologically than physically.

    • Wow I guess the level of success and prosperity Russian expect is low. But also why is he so concerned with keeping power because he the new Yeltsin he has to find a way out where he can keep his money and stay out of jail where so many of have been sent because they don’t understand Sovereign democracy… Shut Up or I Lock you Up!

      • The level of prosperity Russians expect is low because we just turned from a totalitarian socialist state to a free market democracy. And you can cry conspiracy and lies about Putin, but there is no proof of his indicated ‘wealth’ he isn’t even close to being the richest man in Europe and if he was he would spend that money. So unless he receives some sadistic pleasure from holding a check for 50 billion dollars in his pocket and depriving the Russian people of it, I doubt he is rich.
        I’m particularly amused by how Westerners call Russia totalitarian becuase we send people to jail, most notably your puppet from Yukos. When we jail someone, we have a reason for it, weather it is released to the public onsite is not our problem. We do have faults in the system, but not much more than you.

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